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Work with artists and professionals across creative industries
This BA (Hons) 3D Animation and Visual Effects degree explores topics across the creative industries. You will have opportunities to collaborate with artists and professionals as you study at the Tech Park and learn from staff with extensive industry experience. Your lecturers and guest speakers will include award winning directors, producers, actors, writers, editors and composers from the fields of animation, film, TV and games.
You will use state-of-the-art spaces and equipment including Ideas Labs, Animation Labs with industry standard software such as Maya, Nuke and Unreal Engine, a 300sqm film studio, a dedicated green screen studio, and professional standard post production facilities and recording studios.
You will have opportunities to tour studios, connect with established industry professionals and develop a strong awareness of the needs of the industry as you develop your creative and technical skills. This course prepares you for a successful and fulfilling career in animation and visual effects. You will develop your portfolio to meet current industry requirements as you work closely with highly experienced staff and industry professionals.
Working alongside aspiring filmmakers, actors, writers and fellow animators you will collaborate with students across the department to gain an exceptional understanding of production practices and technology application, enhancing your vital employability skills.
The department regularly runs field trips to international film festivals, professional film shoots and industry conventions. By working with professional associates and on staff projects you can develop your early career profile on IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) before you graduate.
On this course you will:
- Use spaces and equipment including Ideas Labs, Animation Labs, a 300sqm film studio, a dedicated green screen studio
- Access professional standard post-production facilities and recording studios.
- Use industry software such as Maya, Nuke and Unreal Engine.
- Focus your studies and develop skills in topics that interest you.
- Learn in the state-of-the-art Tech Park.
- Learn from lecturers and guest speakers with extensive industry experience, including award winners.
- Develop your portfolio to meet current industry requirements.
- Have opportunities to attend field trips to international film festivals, professional film shoots, studios and industry conventions.
- Develop your early career profile on IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base).
- Prepare for a successful and fulfilling career in animation and visual effects with lecturers and tutors who have worked in industry and understand the skills and experience you need to succeed.
As a part of the Department of Creative Industries you will benefit from our industry partnerships with companies including HyperX, DXRacer, Twitch, ARRI, and AVID, and be able to access to industry standard software such as Nuke, Maya and Houdini.
What you will study
You will study a selection of core and optional modules in each year. Each module is worth a number of credits and you will study 360 credits throughout your degree. Each module is delivered differently, depending on its content and focus of study.
During your first year you will be introduced to animation and discover the fundamental workflows and design principles that underpin all 3D Animation and VFX skills. You will discover the software you will use throughout your degree and in your career, and experience a range of topics you may choose to specialise in later.
In your second year you will develop your skills and explore an overview of the technical and creative skills needed across the film and animation industry. You will begin to develop your specialist interests. You could focus on modelling, rigging, character animation or compositing. You will also study cinematography and learn about cameras, lenses, lights and composition.
In your final year you will develop advanced skills and have the chance to refine your skills through ongoing exercise based practice, guided by regular group review sessions. You will complete a major project individually or as part of a group and hone your employability skills, working closely with staff to refine your portfolio and ensure it represents your effectively while meeting current industry needs.
This list is indicative and subject to change.
Select a year
Introduction to Animation & VFXIn this module you will explore the world of Animation and Visual Effects and their applications across the entertainment industries. You will explore many disciplines within the field and their place in production workflows. You will be introduced to industry standard software which you will use across your degree, and discover the importance of observational drawing and maintaining visual diaries and sketchbooks. You will be assessed through a portfolio and a presentation.
Skills AnalysisThis module will introduce you to the wide range of crafts involved in film production. You will learn about a variety of craft roles through film screenings and lectures presented by specialists in each field, and develop awareness and insights into each craft’s distinct creative and authorial input. You will be assessed through a group presentation.
Digital Fundamentals and WorkflowsThe module provides you with the opportunity to investigate the fundamental core technical concepts that make up the digital moving image, as well as multimedia and digital film production pipelines and workflows. You will engage with foundation level mechanisms and standards essential to image acquisition, reproduction and display. Your assessments will include a presentation.
Historical Context and Current TrendsThis module introduces the history of animation and VFX and provides a grounding for further study of animation and VFX as a craft. You will discover how animation/VFX is applied in the real world, the origins of animation and VFX as a storytelling device, and its evolution as a craft over the years. You will develop a critical awareness of animation and VFX as a creative endeavour and as an essential filmmaking tool, and gain knowledge of how various emerging technologies have guided the evolution of animation and VFX across its many applications. You will be assessed through a presentation.
Fundamentals of Asset Creation & AnimationThis modules explores relevant creative and technical processes and their practical applications, using exercises and briefs to investigate the creation of digital assets. You will engage with a broad range of concepts and workflows related to digital asset creation and have the opportunity to develop professional work practices. You will become familiar with an iterative work/review process, planning animation processes and working efficiently as a part of a digital production pipeline. You will be assessed through a portfolio.
Fundamentals of Lighting and VFX CompositingThis module explores creative and technical processes and their practical application, using a mixture of exercises and briefs to investigate the creation of lighting and VFX. You will have the opportunity to develop your skills from previous modules and engage with a broad range of concepts and workflows related to the lighting of digital assets. You will progress to investigate fundamental compositing techniques using industry standard software. You will be assessed through a portfolio.
PrevisualizationThis module explore the pre-visualisation approach to planning and testing creative ideas in preparation for larger scale audio visual projects, and the ‘pitching’ of ideas. You will investigate how pre visualisation is applied in animation, games, film and photography and have the opportunity to explore the fundamental core visual concepts and planning techniques that make up the pre visualisation process and be assessed through a presentation.
Animation Skills DevelopmentThis module is an opportunity for you to continue your development as an animator across two semesters. You will work to a series of briefs which introduce new techniques and allow you to collate a body of work to illustrate your mastering of these workflows. You will explore topics including character acting performances, lipsync animation, and a general refinement of work practices as you explore different styles of animation ranging from an exaggerated “cartoony” aesthetic to performances of a less stylised, photorealistic nature, more grounded in the real world. You will be assessed through a portfolio.
VFX Skills DevelopmentThis module is an opportunity to continue your development as a visual effects artist over two semesters. You will explore new techniques and collate a body of work to illustrate your mastering of these workflows. Using regular reviews and group critique sessions you will refine your skills and workflow practice. You will explore different software solutions for various specialised tasks within the VFX workflow and study more advanced compositing techniques. You will be assessed through a portfolio.
Cinematography for Animation and VFXIn this module you will explore the variety of cinematography principles employed across the filmmaking and media industries. You will cover technical and creative theories regarding lenses, camera operation, lighting and composition, and establish a solid understanding of these building blocks of narrative filmmaking. During this module you will engage in the techniques and workflows professional cinematographers use as you learn to formalise your own work practices and bring your work in line with established industry standards. You will be assessed through a project.
Acting for Character AnimatorsIn this module you will explore the creative processes you need to build a realistic, lifelike character, convey their personality and express emotion. You will be introduced to established core acting principles and undertake a series of briefs, exploring acting theory and practical acting workshops.
Acquisition for VFXIn this module you will discover the origins of the imagery and data you will be working with in VFX and explore how to acquire such data. You will engage with hands on and technical concepts for correctly capturing and formatting data to ensure an efficient ingestion into the VFX pipeline.
Professional Studio PracticeThis module simulates the experience of working on a short format project at a professional studio. Your project could involve producing VFX for a single TV episode, an animated TV commercial, a music promo, or something else. You will respond to a brief delivered by an external client in a small group.
Working with Motion CaptureIn this module you will explore the creative processes you need to build a realistic, lifelike character, convey their personality and express emotion. You will be introduced to established core acting principles and undertake a series of briefs, exploring acting theory and practical acting workshops. You will will explore the fundamental differences between acting for the screen and acting for animation and build on your existing knowledge of the principles of character animation. You will be assessed through a portfolio.
Dynamics and Simulations for FX AnimationThis module introduces you to the practice of 'FX Animation', primarily through the study of particle and dynamic simulations and cloth and fluid simulations. You will have the opportunity to investigate the role that FX Animation plays within the field of VFX production as you engage with industry software. You will be introduced to the concepts of real world physics and their effects on bodies in motion. Your assessment will be a project.
Advanced Animation Skills DevelopmentThis module is an opportunity to continue your development as an animator across two semesters. You will be set a series of briefs which introduce advanced techniques and may have the opportunity to focus your studies into a particular style or application of animation. As well as building on your fundamental animation skills, you will deepen you knowledge of specialised tasks within the animation workflow. You will be assessed through a portfolio. You will choose this module or Advanced VFX Skills Development.
Advanced VFX Skills DevelopmentThis module is an opportunity to continue your development as an animator across two semesters. You will be set a series of briefs which introduce advanced techniques and may have the opportunity to focus your studies into a particular style or application of animation. As well as building on your fundamental animation skills, you will deepen you knowledge of specialised tasks within the animation workflow. You will be assessed through a portfolio. You will choose this module or Advance Animation Skills Development.
Final Major ProjectIn this dissertation level project you will build on your existing practical skills and subject knowledge and have the opportunity to demonstrate your acquired creative and technical knowledge of either 3D animation, visual effects or a combination of the two. You are expected to undertake sustained practice/s and develop your understanding and application of the critical processes of practices. You will work professionally to produce a range of visual artefacts with high standards of content, presentation, and development, and will be assessed through a critical evaluation or reflective essay and a portfolio of work.
Creative PortfolioThis module builds on your creative work done throughout the course. You will enhance your career prospects by producing creative artefacts that align their skills with their commercial and professional objectives. It aims to develop transferable skills in balancing creative and strategic career objectives.
Get practical experience
Gaining industry experience will give you the opportunity to put your studies into practice and use the skills you develop on your course. Your placement will help improve your CV and shows employers that you have already completed work in industry when you graduate.
You can complete a 15-credit placement module during your second year if you secure work in a relevant company. You could also apply for a year long industrial placement.
Placements years usually take place between your second and third years of study. You will spend one year working with a company in industry before returning to the University to complete your final year. This effectively extends your studies by one year. The placement will be a paid position, with pay at or above the National Minimum Wage.
Placement years are competitive. We will support you in finding and applying for a suitable placement, but we are unable to guarantee placements.
You may complete an international or European exchange as part of your studies. You may choose to undertake an exchange for one semester or a whole year at one of our partnership institutions.
Typical offers (individual offers may vary):
Access to HE Diploma
Frequently asked questions
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When does this course start?
This course starts in September 2022.